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* O tent-maker, that frame is but a tent, which shows perhaps the difficulty of Thy soul the king, to realms of Nothing bent ;
these arrangements. But the point is And slaves shall strike the tent for a fresh
that they are all arbitrary perversions
of an original whose scope and conWhen the king rises and his night is spent." struction are of a wholly different
kind. At the utmost, the rabaiyat Here we come upon a stanza beautifully rendered by Fitzgerald. Speaking to general subject, and will then be
can only be cast into groups according of the body, he makes the poet say: found to indicate impulsive, almost
incompatible, states of thought and “ Or is it but a tent where rests anon A Sultan to his kingdom journeying on,
feeling. And which the swarthy chamberlain shall
A sample of Fitzgerald's manner of strike,
paraphrase may be interesting. The Then, when the monarch rises to begone." two metrical stanzas are his : the prose
that follows gives the literal English The difference from the original is of the original. verbally but slight; but it will be observed to seriously alter the signifi
“Oh Thou who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the road I was to wander in ! cance. Khayyam's play on his name
Thou wilt not with Predestination round (Tent-maker) is sacrificed, so is the Enmesh me, and impute my fall to sin. mockery of the soul's journey to an
“Oh Thou who man of basest clay didst make, unreal kingdom. The word chamber
And who with Eden didst devise the snake ! lain is an inadequate substitute for For all the sin with which the face of man the original farash, which indicates Is blackened, man's forgiveness give--and a class of slave appointed in the
take.” East for such duties, and to which
“ In my way-going Thou hast laid the snare the poet contemptuously likens Death.
in many a place. Thou sa yest, ' I slay thee,' if It has been already said that this I make default therein. The world is not free paper is not inteded in censure of from Thy command a tittle. I do Thy comFitzgerald. Its object is only to
mand, and Thou callest me 'Sinner'! afford some glimpses of the real Khay “O Thou, of the sanctity of whose nature yam, who seems somewhat hidden in knowledge is not, and art indifferent both the English poet's graceful work. to our obedience and sin! I am drunk with
sin, but sober with hope, in that my hope is is difficult to explain by isolated
in Thy great mercy." specimens Fitzgerald's deviations from his original, because his variation is
Khayyam mocks at circumstances. general and total. The difference Death is a slave : even life, saving so between him and Khayyam is the far as it is a scene of calm enjoyment, same
that between a group of is a mere bubble. The noise of the epigrams and a long satire. As Mr.
Franks in Syria is deadened by disWhinfield says in his scholarly intro tance : the crimes of Hassan Sabah, duction, all the quatrains of Omar “are the toils of Nizam-ul-Mulk, are ignored, isolated in sense from the context; wbile the poet surprises the secrets of meaning, doubtless, that the sense of Nature, observing her economies of one quatrain is not prolonged or con matter and her recklessness of man. tinued into the quatrain that comes But, in regard to these hapless connext in place. If any one will turn temporaries to whom the stern to one of the editions of Fitzgerald stepmother shows so little pity, he published by Mr. Quaritch, he will infers the duty of help, urging the see a continuous poem of the nature indulgence of a brother orphan : of what Mr. Arnold calls a “criticism of life.” In the text printed with
“Do thou beware no human heart to wring,
Let no one feel thine anger hotly sting. Elihu Vedder's drawings, the order of
Wouldst thou enjoy perpetual happiness? the stanzas is altered to some extent, know how to suffer : cause no suffering.”
Here the veil shall fall, and our danger, but the outspoken heterodoxy last glimpse of the poet show him of the rubaiyat must bave rendered in a posture of pity. He was sum them especially liable to the hostile moned to Merv and employed in the pursuit of the Moslem Church. That reform of the Calendar; and he died a they have, trifles as we may think them, natural deathabout 1123 at Naishapoor, been preserved amid all these dangers his old age being untroubled and his to furnish themes of enjoyment and of life unabridged. More than this an discussion in a state of society so Oriental of that time could not hope like that in which they were born, and from Fate. The rest of his happiness in which they lived so long, raises must come from within, as we will them to a position of almost scriptural hope it did. One of his disciples dignity. And at last we behold them tells us that Omar said in his old inspiring modern artists in the busiest age: “I would be buried in such a centres of Western life. place, that the north wind may It is not at all likely that in their scatter roses
After the original amorphous state they would poet's death the disciple visiting the have pleased the generality of English grave, found that it was beneath a readers. Mr. Whinfield has prefixed garden wall, “and the fruit trees to his translation this somewhat disreached their boughs over, and dropped paraging motto from Mr. Arnold : their blossoms over his tomb, so that
“A mind it was almost hidden."
Not wholly clear nor wholly blind, One of the curious features of Khay Too keen to rest, too weak to find." yam's life and labour is the fact of such heterodox and seemingly unprofitable
Modern Europeans do not care to be matter surviving, with no aid from the
troubled with reading "that travails printing-press, through the havoc of sore and brings forth wind.” For the seven stormy centuries. Of this we
use of such it is more than probable may be sure, that no nation preserves
that Fitzgerald's genius and skill have a work of literary art unless it has
raised the only acceptable structure. endeared itself to many minds, and
Nevertheless, a sympathetic student found an echo in the popular feeling.
of human history may be willing
to cast Not only have Persia and Khorassan
a glance at the remote been scourged since then with fire and original, too far away in place and sword in which the frail life of manu
time, too bare and open for permanent scripts must have been in constant
sojourn : a grotesque nook abounding
in quaint arabesque and coloured 1 It is the opinion of scholars that much fret-work, yet not the less a shrine of spurious matter has been added. Out of twelve hundred stanzas ascribed to him, not one
undogmatic grace and harmlessness fourth is believed to be genuine.
H. G. KEENE.
THE STORY OF ALICE AYRES.
‘Poua s'épyuátwv Xpovuúrepov Botellet.- Pindar, Nemea, Od, iv. 10.
[In an eloquent and interesting letter addressed to The Times of September 5th, 1887, Mr. G. F. Watts recalls to our minds the tine story of Alice Ayres, a maid of all work, who, in April 1885, sacrificed her own life in order to save the children of her master from being burnt to death. The details of this story, as gathered from the letter, I have endeavoured to reproduce below. Mr. Watts, in commenting upon this heroic action, remarks with great force and truth, " that the material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession, but its deeds are.” “The character of a nation as a people of great deeds is one, it appears to me, that never should be lost sight of ;” and he wishes to dignify, as it were, the jubilee-year "by erecting a monument, say here, in London, to the names of those likely-to-be-forgotten heroes.” With this wish of his, natural to an eminent artist, I sympathise in some degree, but not entirely. As a writer of verses another point of view opens itself before me, and this point I have tried to show in the following lines.]
We see how wretched are the parts
Played by misleaders of the state,
The step of an advancing Fate.
May set in gloom, nor rise agen,
Out of the thoughts and words of men.
Still there is much not born to die :
Great deeds can never be undone :
Like stars, outlasting even the sun.
But not to move them from their place :
Why God once shaped the English race.
Our childrens' children shall repeat
How, with a half unconscious thrill,
In simple hearts, and armed the will.
Must rise and link our lot with theirs,
Of those who died—like Alice Ayres.
Such deeds are England's soul, and we,
Tossing aside each idler rhyme,
From the concealing dust of Time.
Such stories should be plainly told : Gems never lose their strength or fire,
Though tinsel settings may grow old.
The heavens are clear and calm, when lo,
A sudden voice rings through the night :
With quivering lips and faces white :
Within crash down the burning stairs;
Stands at the window Alice Ayres. “Come down, come down," all cry aloud,
“ We have the means to break your fall.” She does not seem to hear the crowd,
And gives no answer to their call. Then, firm that evil hour to meet,
She forces, through the narrow pane, Soft clothes and bedding on the street,
Retires, and straight returns again. A sleeping babe is in her arms,
Whom, with a watchful hand and head, Protecting from all risks and harms,
She drops in safety on the bed. Slowly she steps back, in that gloom
Of strangling smoke to disappear, Thence dragging from her instant doom
An older girl, who shrieks with fear. “Come down, come down," the shouts rise high,
“Come down, or every hope is gode : Save, save yourself at length,” they cry,
Enough for others have you done.' But no! there is a third one yet :
Death therefore must be faced once more : The star of duty will not set
For her till the whole work is o'er.
Upon herself a look to cast;
God wills that it should be her last.
Choked breath, dulled ears, and darkened eyes, She staggers onwards, but in vain :
It is too late-she falls and dies !
“And who was Alice Ayres ?” you ask.
A household drudge, who slaved all day, Whose joyless years were one long task,
On stinted food and scanty pay ; But neither hunger, toil, nor care
Could e'er a selfish thought instil, Or quench a spirit born to dare,
Or freeze that English heart and will.
As we are well told, it is true
That England's worth may thence be shown, That men and women, not a few,
Like Alice, should be better known.
(That no such legend we may lose) By building up their statues here."
So be it ! if the people choose.
But, cold and dead in all men's sight,
A statue moulders and decays, Whilst soulless hirelings often blight
Grand hero-names with formal praise. No! Alice and her partners call
For that which chisels cannot give : Self-sculptured on the minds of all,
Such memories should not waste, but live.
Not cabined in one narrow place,
A local boast, a mere street token; But, like the air, diffused through space,
So long as English words are spoken: To be drawn in with each new breath
Where red and warm the old blood runs, And, o'er the wide world conquering death,
Shared thus for ever by our sons.
F. H. DOYLE.